298 HISTORY OF WESTERN EDUCATION proper teacher the father," is that the best education is family education. The family stands midway between nature and society, and there, better than anywhere else, the child can develop his individual powers with the minimum of restraint, and yet be prepared for his place in the great world of men. The part played by considerations of age in education is the central theme of thzEmile; and in spite of its many imperfections, ^Rousseau's discussion of it is one of the most valuable of his contributions to the advancement of educational thought. Start- ing with the principle that every age has a special character of its own, he divided the time of pupilage into four periods, and tried to define their characteristic features as a preliminary to the prescription of the appropriate education. In distinguishing the successive phases of childhood and youth he proceeded on two lines. On the one hand, he assumed a certain correspondence between the growth of the individual person and what he took to be the history of the race; and on the other hand, he thought of childhood as a time of mental passivity from which there was a gradual escape to the mental activity of manhood by a successive maturing of faculties. The first period is that of infancy, from birth to the age of two. The child at this age is to all intents and purposes an animal, in a state of undifferentiated feeling, scarcely more conscious of himself than in the pre-natal life. The second period is that of childhood, from two to twelve years of age. The child has now reached the level of savage man. His mind is domin- ated by the senses and lacks any proper power of reasoning. He is oblivious to moral considerations, his only law being the law of physical necessity. The third period is that of pre-adolescence, lasting from twelve to fifteen. The boy is now nearing the verge of adult life and, like Robinson Crusoe, is capable of living a self-sufficient life. With new accessions of physical strength intellect has made its appearance, and he regulates his actions with a view to future consequences. Conscience, however, is still undeveloped, and personal utility is the sole motive in his behaviour. The fourth period is that of adolescence, extending from fifteen to the time of marriage about twenty-five. The sex functions awaken, the youth undergoes a new birth, and true social life begins. Soul is now added to intellect and sense ; and beauty, goodness, and truth acquire a personal value. Conscience rules life and virtue becomes possible.